When the weather chills and the harvest has begun, communities across the nation set up county fairs for locals to enjoy. It is an American tradition. Friends and families gather together to enjoy the festivities and escape the stresses of day to day life. Setting up shop on a patch of dirt, “carnies” bring around 15-30 rides. Every ride is covered with small bulbs that flash and flicker. These lights give that normally dark field a faint glow that can be seen for miles. Sweet smells of funnel cakes linger in the air. And the screams coming from the Fireball ride can be heard even outside the gates. Just describing the magic created by this tradition makes me nostalgic.
For you see, the fair symbolizes so much more than a night out on the town. It represents our childhood, our parents, our kids, and our first loves. We can track our entire life by the series of fair adventures we have had and who we have shared them with each year. I can remember going to the Savannah fair with my dad and my brother. When I turned 15, I was finally allowed to go with a group of friends (very exciting at the time). Then the next year, I had my first boyfriend take me, just the two of us. It was so romantic in a childhood innocence way. I remember he won me a teddy bear and I just knew he was “the one”. Later, I came to college and went to the Statesboro fair. It was a completely new experience, even though it had the same rides. What made it special was the group of friends I went with.
As I have gotten older, I have skipped out on the annual event. Instead of seeing the beauty of the fair, I convinced myself that that place was not for me. I focused on the things like that creepy guy who smiles at you with no teeth from the control panel, or the mud that covers your feet and pants no matter how carefully you step, or the puking girl standing beside the twirling tower of terror. I must have lost the magic.
While watching the Notebook last night, I was reminded of how long fairs have been around. Every American has experienced at least one fair. It is something that unites us together in some weird way. Our shared experiences of the chaos are what create the magic. One day, when I have more years under my belt, I can’t wait to take my kids. I wouldn’t want anyone to miss out on the wonders of the night.